Jack-o’-Lantern Stuffed Peppers
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
1½ cups cooked brown rice
1 (8 ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 large orange bell peppers
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add beef, salt and pepper; cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, just until it loses its pink color, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in rice, ¾ cup tomato sauce and parsley.
Meanwhile, cut out stem ends of bell peppers and set aside; scoop out seeds. With a sharp paring knife, cut out a jack-o’-lantern face on one side of each pepper. Place the peppers and tops, cut-side down, in a microwave-safe pie pan. Add ¼ cup water. Microwave on High until tender but firm, 4 to 6 minutes. Empty the water from the dish and turn the peppers cut-side up.
Stuff the peppers with the beef mixture. Spoon the remaining ¼ cup tomato sauce over the peppers. Bake until the mixture is heated through, 20 to 25 minutes. Place the steamed tops back on top of the peppers.